New Year's Eve DUI patrol kick off operations - CBS 5 - KPHO

New Year's Eve DUI patrol kick off operations

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PHOENIX (CBS5) -

The East Valley DUI Task Force kicked off their operations Thursday night for the New Year's Eve holiday, arresting 95 people, according to Phoenix police.

The task force set up its command post in central Phoenix Thursday. On Friday night, it will be in Gilbert and on Saturday, New Year's Eve, it will be set up in Tempe.

Dozens of officers from East Valley cities will focus their efforts over the next few days on taking impaired drivers off the roads. Officers involved work for departments including Mesa, Tempe, Scottsdale, Chandler, Gilbert along with Phoenix, the Department of Public Safety and the Maricopa County Sheriff's Department.

Attorneys who work for the city of Phoenix prosecutor's office were also at the command post Thursday night. They work with the task force to aggressively prosecute those who violate Arizona's laws against impaired driving.

Aarón J. Carreón-Aínsa has prosecuted DUI cases in Phoenix for 33 years.

"The public needs to be aware that not only alcohol and illegal drugs cause unsafe driving, prescription drugs do too. The law requires that we drive to the best of our ability undiminished to the slightest degree by alcohol or any other drug, even a prescription drug. Save a life by not allowing others to drive impaired; be the designated driver; call a cab for a friend; call 911 when you see erratic driving, and take prescription drugs only as prescribed," Carreon-Ainsa said.

Officers and prosecutors estimate half of those arrested for DUI these days are impaired not by alcohol but by prescription drugs or designer drugs like bath salts, spice or glass cleaner that you can buy in smoke shops or over the Internet.

Officer Kemp Layden is a Phoenix police motor officer specially trained as a drug recognition expert. These are officers who can pinpoint symptoms and signs of those under the influence of drugs.

"It's legal to possess, it's legal to take it, but it's not legal to drive under the influence of it," Layden said.

The problem of DUI can be devastating in many ways. You can lose your license, be sent to jail and face hefty fines and attorney's fees.

"It's all unsafe and it has to be treated just the same by the statutes. You're under the influence, you're under the influence regardless of what caused it," Layden said.

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